Can You Help Me With Negotiating My Salary?

“Can you help me with negotiating my salary?”

The short answer is yes. It’s my job to help others understand the value of adding you to their team, and specifically you. It’s not just my job; it’s what I am called to do. There is nothing that makes me happier than hearing that an individual has not only landed a role that excites them, but they’re getting paid well.

I am actively ambitious for you and your preferable future. 

I also believe that “revenue is oxygen” (thanks Tim Westergren for this gem); it gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. And “revenue” in this situation is your compensation package.

Which is why I get this question, Can you help me with negotiating my salary? It’s also why it’s the topic of this week’s Live! With Joanna show.

Here’s the problem: I can have all the world’s ambition for you, but you often start the negotiation process too late. You wait until your performance review is up, or you’re getting the job offer to start the conversation about what you want in return for loaning out your brilliant brain to an organization.

The person asking to borrow your time thought about how much they could spend on you. About ten seconds after they need someone, a person, to solve a problem, they’re thinking about resources. Is there anyone on the team who can take this responsibility on? If there is, then do, they have the resources needed? And if not, do they need to hire someone else? Resources are a combination of time and money. And unless your company has unlimited time and money, unlikely, the question “How much?” has an answer before anything happens.

Truth #1: When it comes to negotiating: Both parties have a price in mind when starting the process. 

Power Up Tip #1: She who asks first gets the answer first. Do not wait for them to ask you what your salary expectations are. Go ahead and ask, “Do you have a range for your compensation budget?” – note I didn’t say salary. In this modern world, your salary is one of the many elements you can negotiate. 

Negotiation Tip #1: There’s a concept in the world of pricing called anchoring. Key learning for you – if you share your rate before they share their budget, you will be at a disadvantage.

So back to my comment about being too late in the negotiation process. You message your future value the moment you become part of the consideration set. A quick reminder, you are hired for your ability to do things in the future, justified by what you’ve accomplished in the past.  

All the “marketing materials” of you – your resume, your LinkedIn profile, how you respond in the interview, how you follow up – send signals about the value of the product of you. It’s the same reason a two-carat solitaire from Costco ($13,000) is not the same price as Cartier (I looked, the only price I could find was $720,000 – ouch).

Truth #2: When it comes to negotiating: You already have a personal brand. 

Power Up Tip #2: When you’re in the process of loaning Future You, it’s worth thinking about yourself as a product. And like a product, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What do I have to offer that someone might want?
  • Why would they be excited to have it?
  • Why would they want to have it now?
  • What makes me unique from my competitors?

Take a trip down the rabbit hole of product marketing expertise, and you’ll find a list of thoughtful questions you should ask yourself about the product of you.

Negotiation Tip #2: I know everyone thinks that the resume is the only “leave behind” you can bring to an interview. Imagine you had a graphic that clearly showed how you think, and why the “product of you” is uniquely fantastic.

I’ve only shared two tips today because here’s what I also believe about negotiation tips:

  1. One size does not fit all.
  2. To get good at this skill, you have to practice.

I know you wish I could give you the five things you need to do to negotiate a brilliant salary. But if you came to me and said, “Can you help me with negotiation my salary?” I would have two questions for you. 

  1. Do you have time to brief me on your unique situation and your plans for the Preferable Future You?
  2. Are you prepared to practice?

I get it. I’m asking you to do something you haven’t done before. It’s hard and probably a bit scary. But this is where you get to choose.

Will you take what you’re offered? It’s safe, and hopefully, your employer has fair and considered compensation practices.


Will you learn how to teach people about the value (and price) of the amazing Future You?

You get to choose your own adventure and, in turn, create the Future You.


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